No shift, but escalation in Canada's public posture . . .
Over the last few weeks, the Canadian government has gradually sharpened its rhetoric against China. The latest denunciation came yesterday from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who stated that China is acting more aggressively on the world stage. After initially keeping a low profile, the Canadian government is now publicly calling for assistance from the United States and slowly becoming more vocal about China's behaviour vis-à-vis international norms and its actions against Canada.
Pain in the pocketbook . . .
The current dispute between the two countries illustrates Canada’s growing reliance on China, including in many sectors beyond our merchandise exports. Earlier this week, for example, York University’s Schulich School of Business announced that a program it has run for 18 years to train Chinese executives has lost C$500,000 in bookings since the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in early December. It’s the latest sign of how complicated things could get for Canada, and in a variety of sectors, if the relationship worsens.
Calling all allies . . .
Although directly voicing concerns with China may yield few immediate results, discussion can help pave the way for future progress in the bilateral relation. But ultimately, the current situation Canada finds itself in with China leaves the Trudeau government little choice but to publicly raise questions about China’s behaviour and try to join forces with allies who are experiencing tough times in their own relations with China.